The Importance of Creating a Documented Content Marketing Strategy & Other Useful Tips for 2015
Content marketing has certainly come a long way, and is now seen by marketers as a legitimate means of driving revenue growth for companies. On the other hand, content marketing’s growing use and prominence has created a unique set of problems.
First, as more marketers are jumping onto the content marketing bandwagon, supply is beginning to outstrip demand. In other words, while more content is being produced, there is now a growing divide between those who create relevant, high-quality content, and those who just create noise.
Second, it has become more expensive—maddeningly expensive—not just to produce targeted, high-quality, and original content, but also to distribute it. As more content, both good and bad, is glutting content distribution channels, it has become more expensive to cut through the noise and deliver content in an impactful way to its intended audience.
To combat these challenges, marketers like you need to focus on three fundamental objectives: creating excellent content, demonstrating the value of this content, and distributing it more efficiently through content distribution channels. In other words, to succeed in 2015, you need to start focusing on documented, strategic content marketing creation and implementation.
Focus on Paid Social, Demonstrate Your Content’s Real Business Value, and Produce Tactical Content
The next big and powerful trend in content marketing is going to be paid social media. In other words, to gain an edge over your competitors, you’ll need to focus on distributing your content via paid social media.
According to the latest report from eMarketer (@eMarketer), advertisers around the world will spend $23.68 billion on paid media to reach consumers on social networks in 2015. By 2017, social network ad spending will jump to $35.98 billion, representing 16.0% of all digital ad spending globally.
This year, Facebook will lessen the organic reach of promotional posts from Pages. Meanwhile, other social media platforms are optimizing their social advertising channels. Last year saw Snapchat release its first ads, Instagram introduce video ads, the emergence of auto-play video ads on Facebook, and the availability of more Twitter cards.
In addition to new and enhanced social advertising channels, marketers will be increasingly integrating social advertising with their brands’ data bases and omnichannel strategies. This will lead to more sophisticated and contextual targeting.
With each passing month, there are fewer marketing success stories centered around earned and owned media without the support of paid social media. This, of course, does not spell the end of creative and social media content; it simply means that paid social media has become an indispensable third pillar in marketers’ content distribution efforts.
A greater focus on paid social media entails a larger content budget. The challenge for the average marketer will be showing the real business value derived from content marketing—aside from just an increase in downloads and views—to upper management.
Upper management wants to know if content is moving leads much faster through the sales funnel, whether content is increasing the lifetime value of customers, and if content marketing is impacting revenue growth. These expectations entail a new way of reporting on content.
To demonstrate more value, marketers’ content will have to be targeted to specific goals. Content should be viewed as a highly tactical piece of marketing that is designed to achieve specific goals, such as bringing more people into the sales funnel, increasing the speed at which leads move through the sales funnel, and mitigating churn rates.
Tactical pieces of content will need to be combined with tactical programs and campaigns. When implemented correctly, tactical content will move content away from an emphasis on customer experience to a greater emphasis on customer engagement. Indeed, content marketing is viewed as the new conversation between brands and their public.
Focus on Customer Engagement, Not Customer Experience
An article that appeared in Advertising Age (@adage) highlights the distinction between customer engagement and customer experience: “Customer experience is a campaign model measured in eyeballs. Customer engagement is a business model measured in growth. It involves, strengthens and connects every business discipline.”
The article went on to compare customer engagement to Formula One racing:
F1 enterprises undertake massive preparation and intelligence gathering long before a race starts, so they can start in the best position possible. Then they sync interdependent teams to real-time data feeds throughout the race. They don’t win because they do something magical once; they win because they start the race in a better position than competitors and tweak everything continually, consciously and in a coordinated way.
To ensure enhanced customer engagement, marketers need to base their strategy on a deeper level of customer intelligence. They need to identify who their most valuable customers are, and understand these customers’ behavior. With this extra intelligence, marketers can continually adapt messages, channels, and cadence in response to customer behavior.
This new model requires marketers to incorporate real-time data mining and analysis modules into their engagement engines. Once this is accomplished, marketers can convert unique insights on target segments into interactions that drive awareness and engagement, as well as purchase and loyalty.
This shift also requires marketers to integrate technology platforms, hardware, software, and complex data algorithms into their marketing strategy.
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Latest posts by Caroline Williamson (see all)
- Broadening Your Professional Network through Social Media - April 25, 2015
- Create a Documented Content Marketing Strategy in 2015 - April 20, 2015
- Tips to Successfully Measure Your Content Marketing - April 7, 2015